Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The past 2 months, part 1...

The past 2 months have been a whirlwind of activity. We have traveled around Kenya and made every effort to see all the "touristy things" that we don't want to miss out on before we head back to the U.S.A.

Jason's work had an all-staff retreat in Naivasha and Flint and I tagged along and spent the week at the Lake Naivasha Country Club. The club is a very pretty parcel on the shores of Lake Naivasha, where there are hundreds of different birds, hippos, and monkeys. The accommodations were very nice and I very much enjoyed wandering around the vast grounds and watching the wildlife. Here are some of the animals that Flint I observed while Jason was hard at work in meetings all day:

The town of Naivasha is quite small compared to Nairobi, but is charming and nicely located very close to the lake. I will say though, that both Jason and I had a very uncomfortable arrival at Naivasha. As we pulled through town, Jason noticed a bunch of people running across the road in front of us, and those people being followed by more people. We slowed to avoid the people on the roadway, just in time to see a group of people circle one man and begin beating him. He was very badly hurt by this crowd, which all seemed to surge to get a chance at him. A few weeks after this incident, we were talking to a friend (expat) who lives in Naivasha and works as a MD and she informed us that at the hospital she works at, there is a diagnostic code for the injuries that the man sustained (if he lived). She informed us that the diagnostic code is "mob justice."

Before Leaving Naivasha, Jason and I decided we would take a trip to Crescent Island. Crescent Island is a peninsula that sticks out into Lake Naivasha and was reported to have abundant wildlife that are protected, free of predators and therefore able to be walked among. This sounded idyllic. In fact, when we arrived we were met by an old British expat woman who we found to be quite in love with the animals and at odds with the people of Kenya. We asked her how she came to live in such an incredible place and she informed us that her husband and her had tried to purchase the land back during the big land grabs (my words), and that when they couldn't arrange the finances to allow it, they lost the opportunity to buy the land. She stated that the land is owned by one of the Kenyan tribes now (as it should be...again my words) and that they allow her to live on the land and care for the animal preserve. I thought this was mighty nice of the tribe considering the low employment rates and poverty of many Kenyans. She then told us how much had changed in the land over the last few decade, including a nearby "slum" (which is in fact, a town) and then making the statement that "these people needed to be eradicated." At this point, having already paid to see Crescent Island, Jason and I both departed this horribly offensive, ungrateful, hateful woman and made our way to see the animals. As we arrived in the preserve, we noticed a distinct lack of animals..except for some horses and domestic sheep. We made our way down towards the shore and noticed a very unpleasant smell. As it turns out, many of the animals were dead and rotting where they had died. With the animals trapped on this peninsula and a lack of recent rains, many of the animals had perished. We saw dead animal after dead animal..some dead for seemingly weeks (by their degree of rot) and others newly dead. The smell was very bad and with no predators or scavengers around, everything was lost and wasted. The animals that were still alive appeared to be extremely thin, and very unhealthy. Crescent Island held a great sadness for the poor treatment of the animals trapped there and for the disregard to the necessity of the full food chain. After walking for about 45 minutes and seeing mostly dead animals, I said "no more" and we turned around. Despite this, the views from the top of Crescent Island were beautiful. I will also say that Im really glad we were able to pay resident rates for this huge let down of a place. As for the sun-dumbed british ignoramus, I hope that she continues to spout off her garbage and is removed from her position as caretake of the preserve.
Here are some pictures from Crescent Island. I am including some of the dead animals in case anyone disbelieves the degree of mistreatment of the animals.